Green Room

Pope Francis clears John Paul II, John XXIII for canonization

posted at 9:55 am on July 5, 2013 by

Following up on my earlier Green Room post, Pope Francis has cleared the way for canonization for both John Paul II and John XXIII.  The next step will be a “consistory” to determine the process for their formal recognition of sainthood.  The canonization of the latter is a major signal to the faithful:

Pope Francis on Friday cleared Pope John Paul II for sainthood, approving a miracle attributed to his intercession and setting up a remarkable dual canonization along with another beloved pope, John XXIII.

In a major demonstration of his papal authority, Francis decided to make John XXIII a saint even though the Vatican hasn’t confirmed a second miracle attributed to his intercession. The Vatican said Francis had the power to “dispense” with the normal saint-making procedures to canonize him on his own merit, without a miracle.

The ceremonies are expected before the end of the year. The date of Dec. 8 has been floated as one possibility, given it’s the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a major feast day for the church. Polish media continued to report that October was likely, to mark the anniversary of John Paul’s election, but Vatican officials have said that’s too soon to organize such a massive event.

The Vatican issued a statement regarding a number of approvals for canonization, but the most interesting is that of John XXIII.  The exercise of papal authority in this case seems to be a very strong signal from Francis endorsing the outcome of the Second Vatican Council, which remains controversial with conservative elements within the Church.  It’s a big rebuke to the Pius X Society (SSPX), a splinter group with whom the Vatican has tried to reconcile for decades since they split off in the 1970s.  Pope John Paul II excommunicated a number of them in the 1980s for their attempt to consecrate new bishops.

SSPX wants the Vatican to back off from Vatican II changes and return to the earlier practices of the Church.  This looks like Francis’ answer to their demands, and it may be especially galling to the group to see both the author of Vatican II and its enforcer canonized at the same time.

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John XXIII was the surprise decision and it seems like Pope Francis’ personal decision. John XXIII was the pope when Jorge Bergoglio was a seminarian in Buenos Aires, so I think that he has a personal devotion to J23. Additionally, it is savvy politics. John XXIII has been getting some good press lately because of the Council and comparisons to Pope Francis. So that will balance out some of the more critical comentary on JPII’s pontificate (the Legions of Christ and the sex abuse scandals.)

As for what it says about Pope Francis, he might not care for some of the trappings of the office, but he isn’t shy about exercising power. And he is definitely a Vatican II fan who has no use for traditionalists. He has been ignoring SSPX, which is the best way to deal with children in the middle of a temper tantrum. I’m frankly not sure why Benedict was so set on negotiating with the SSPX especially since it blew up in his face. Frankly, I’d love it if Francis invited them to take their misogyny and anti-Semitism elsewhere.

Illinidiva on July 5, 2013 at 10:31 AM

He kissed a koran.

Akzed on July 5, 2013 at 11:51 AM

He kissed a koran.

Akzed on July 5, 2013 at 11:51 AM

I know it is shocking that a modern day religious leader was for interfaith dialogue.

Illinidiva on July 5, 2013 at 12:07 PM

The good news is that canonizations are not infallible and can be later reversed. It has happened in the past.

I don’t know whether John XXIII or John Paul II are legitimate candidates for canonization or not. What I do know is that the gutting of the traditional waiting period and in-depth process for canonization, coupled with Francis’ circumventing even the modern process in order to make a statement, makes these canonizations extremely suspect.

Shump on July 5, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Illinidiva on July 5, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Everything modern is good. I know. Especially kissing a koran, that contains things Christians used to consider blasphemous and barbaric.

Other than that I’m fine with it.

Akzed on July 5, 2013 at 12:36 PM

The good news is that canonizations are not infallible and can be later reversed. It has happened in the past.

Canonizations are pronounced “Ex-Cathedra” so they are definitely infalliable proclamations.

I don’t know whether John XXIII or John Paul II are legitimate candidates for canonization or not. What I do know is that the gutting of the traditional waiting period and in-depth process for canonization, coupled with Francis’ circumventing even the modern process in order to make a statement, makes these canonizations extremely suspect.

Shump on July 5, 2013 at 12:35 PM

The second miracle attributed to JPII was said to be quite definitive even in the realm of supernatural healing. Apparently, the Costa Rican lady dying from an aneurism even received a visit from JPII in her dreams.

As for John XXIII, Francis has the power to declare who he wants a saint.

Everything modern is good. I know. Especially kissing a koran, that contains things Christians used to consider blasphemous and barbaric.

Considering that Catholics used to be okay with anti-Semitism, I would take anything that used to be considered blasphemous with a huge grain of salt.

Illinidiva on July 5, 2013 at 1:57 PM

John Paul II presided over the biggest sexual abuse scandal ever and did nothing about it for years.A saint? Ha!

redware on July 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM

I know it is shocking that a modern day religious leader was for interfaith dialogue.

Illinidiva on July 5, 2013 at 12:07 PM

I think that goes a little beyond “interfaith dialogue.” And yes, it was scandalous to many Catholics.

But there’s some evidence that John Paul II did not know what he was kissing. That if he had known, he would not have done so. When the Congregation for Saints considered the matter, they apparently made the charitable interpretation.

The_Jacobite on July 5, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Akzed on July 5, 2013 at 11:51 AM

And Saint Paul killed Saint Stephen. Turns out sinners can move on from their mistakes and be united with God in Heaven. That is the faith of the Church, and we are proud to proclaim it.

AbaddonsReign on July 5, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Of course, JPII knew what he was kissing. He made a point to honor and respect other religions. That is one reason why both he and John XXIII are being canonized. Considering that Francis loves interfaith dialogue and it is his call, this is a feature not a bug.

Also, if you are all hot and bothered about Koran kissing, I sure hope you aren’t in anyway defending SSPX. The SSPX has the same views on Jews as the Muslim Brotherhood and the only difference with their view on women and Muslims’ the lack of a burqa. Such awful people, like Mormon polygamists down to the dowdy dresses. I hope Francis runs them out of the Church and does so in a memorable Francis way. 😉

Illinidiva on July 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM


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